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Re: Microraptor hanqingi, new species from China.

I also think that dinosaurs would benefit from more lumpin'. It seems as if 
dinosaurs are being treated by dino-specialists as exceptions to the rules of 
taxonomy. I think some of Greg's lumping is definately feasible as it brings 
dinosaurian taxonomy closer to that practiced by other workers who deal with 
other taxa (invertebrate and vertebrate). that's my 2 cents.

From: "Thomas R. Holtz, Jr." <tholtz@umd.edu> 
To: archosauromorph2@hotmail.com, dinosaur@usc.edu 
Sent: Tuesday, May 22, 2012 10:29:10 AM 
Subject: RE: Microraptor hanqingi, new species from China. 

> From: owner-DINOSAUR@usc.edu [mailto:owner-DINOSAUR@usc.edu] 
> On Behalf Of Brad McFeeters 
> > Something worth pointing out here: 
> > 
> > * Paleontologists who work in other taxa (especially in 
> > non-vertebrates) consider pretty much all dinosaur 
> paleontologists as 
> > crazy splitters. In some cases, Greg's lumping is more in line with 
> > standard taxonomic practice for other paleotaxa than is the 
> standards of the community. (Basically, most of the taxa at 
> "subfamily" or "tribe" levels in dinosaur paleo [or at least 
> those with -inae and and -ini endings] would wind up as 
> genera in other disciplines). 
> Do taxonomists in these other specialties care if genera are 
> paraphyletic?  That's the usual justification I see whenever 
> someone splits a dinosaur genus.                                      
Some do, some don't. 

However, even for those that do (in my opinion rightly) require monophyletic 
genera, they still regard dinosaurian genera as way 
oversplit. So whereas most dinosaurian genera have only a single species, they 
would regard a genus as only really "useful" if it 
encompassed several (where "several" could be "dozens" of) species. 

In this practice, the idea of lumping all Centrosaurinae into Centrosaurus, all 
Tyrannosaurinae into Tyrannosaurus, and so forth 
would be reasonable. 

Again, this isn't actually a matter of the scientific understanding of the 
organisms. It is just (as Tim pointed out) a matter of 
communication. There is no "genericometer" to determine when two "species" 
differ at the "genus" level. 

Thomas R. Holtz, Jr. 
Email: tholtz@umd.edu        Phone: 301-405-4084 
Office: Centreville 1216                         
Senior Lecturer, Vertebrate Paleontology 
Dept. of Geology, University of Maryland 
Fax: 301-314-9661                 

Faculty Director, Science & Global Change Program, College Park Scholars 
Fax: 301-314-9843 

Mailing Address:        Thomas R. Holtz, Jr. 
                        Department of Geology 
                        Building 237, Room 1117 
                        University of Maryland 
                        College Park, MD 20742 USA